Easter 2 – April 11

Peace Be with You
Service Prayers for the Second Sunday of Easter
April 11, 2021

Acts 4:32-35 • Psalm 133 • 1 John 1:1-2:2 • John 20:19-31

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use. “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red; take and adapt as you need!

Call to Worship
Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines
Leader:          At the beginning of the day, at the beginning of the week, the faithful yet fearful people gathered together. It was then that the Spirit of God came among them and whispered:
People:        Whispering out loud, but muted
Peace be with you.

Leader:          Their hearts skipped a beat as they double checked that the lock on the front door was still latched. So the Presence of God spoke a little louder:
People:        Whispering out loud, but muted
Peace be with you.

Leader:          They looked around at each other, puzzled, amazed, befuddled, and bewildered. Some smiled. Some doubted. Some wondered if it were just too magical sounding or too good to be true. So the Christ showed them that his own scars were not the end of the story and that is when the words of God began to feel joyous:
People:        Speaking out loud, but muted
Peace be with you.

Leader:          From that day on, the people of God repeated the words to one another when they gathered. From one generation to the next, they exchanged the words as a greeting to one another to remember that Holy interruption to fear:
People:        Speaking out loud, unmuted, in expression of joyful community
Peace be with you!

Prayer of Confession
Reader 1:        Holy One, our confession won’t be news to you, but maybe if we allow it to be spoken aloud, You can help us find a way forward.
Reader 2:       Holy One, we have doubts. We’re not talking about doubts like Thomas—his were perfectly reasonable—after all we too long to see You, touch You, and truly know You.

Reader 1:       Our doubts feel different. We doubt that the peace you offer is really possible because our own minds are a mess of thoughts.
Reader 2:       We doubt that new life is possible because the wounds we bear are still overwhelming.

Reader 1:       We doubt that You really intended to call us when You called the disciples to be of service in creating a new way of being in the world.
Reader 2:       We hear the age-old stories, but we are filled with doubts about ourselves, and if we are honest, doubts about your Holy possibilities. Holy One, in these moments of stillness, hear our doubts and settle our hearts, souls, and minds…

Silence; leave space for people to examine their hearts, and, if it seems appropriate, to voice what doubts they are holding on to that may inhibit their connection to God.

Assurance of Grace
Reader 1:        In the midst of the disciples’ doubts and worries, in the midst of their fear, the Spirit of God came among them and whispered, “Peace be with you.” Beloved People of God, hear the holy invitation of grace offered to every generation: Peace be with you. You are God’s beloveds not because of what you have done or not done.
Reader 2:       You are God’s beloveds because of who you are, and who you are is a people called and gifted to be a presence of peace and love in this world. Your shortcomings are forgiven. Grace abounds. God calls to you. Peace be with you.

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People
Notes for the worship planners in 2021:

Consider a simple message or even an interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today. For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…” In a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online. Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers: “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief” etc.

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those in need of extra pastoral care

Invitation to the Offering
God invites us to bring the fullness of who we are into worship
and to share the fullness of who we are with the world.
So it is God’s holy invitation that asks us to pause
and wonder what we want to offer of ourselves to the world.
Time? Presence? Kindness? Financial support? Prayers?

In these moments of quiet and reflection:
what is it that you have to offer this day to bring about God’s peace on Earth?

Leader:          At the beginning of the day, at the beginning of the week,
when the faithful yet fearful people gathered together,
Jesus came among them and whispered an invitation, “Peace be with you.”
But that was only the beginning.
He showed them the scars and marks of his own humanity
and soon he was pointing at theirs as well, telling them
“Just as God once sent me, so I send you.”
Beloved People of God, this hour is only the beginning.
Do not be afraid. You have been called
and you are being sent into this world
to be a force of love, light, hope, and joy.

Go forth into this day and into the world in the name of God,
the one who creates you;
go in the name of the Jesus who shows us the way;
and go in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who is with us now and always.

Leader:          Peace be with you.
People:        Whispered out loud, but muted
Peace be with you.

Service prayers for the Second Sunday of Easter is written by the Rev. Ellis Arnold.  Now serving as one of the Associate Conference Ministers for the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences of the UCC, Ellis’s energy gets channeled into collaboration with congregations and people of faith who are striving to transform not just the three feet around them, but also their communities and the world into a more just, generous, liberated place.

Copyright 2021  Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.

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